We have 100 strawberry plants out amongst our fruit trees and blueberry bushes. Our fruit trees will stand tall when fully grown, the blueberries will be between our knees and our necks, and the strawberries cover the ground in two foot wide beds totaling 50′ in length. Strawberries were planted a foot apart and 6″ in from the sides of their 3 beds.
We planted the strawberries last spring (2014) and removed all flowers from 2 of our beds last year so the berries could focus their energy into growing ‘runners’ that became new plants this year. The third bed, we let flower and produce berries and also sprout runners… Hey, we wanted some berries right away, so we created a little. The few berries we did not share with the slugs (nah, you go ahead and keep that one) were delicious!
Our ‘forest garden’ is providing us with 6 fruit trees, 4-12 garlic bulbs planted around each tree to keep bugs away, 12 blueberry bushes of different varieties, and 100 strawberry plants (quadrupling each year) from a space that is 25′ by 20′. And we still have room to walk through and work every plant in that garden.
Strawberries get their name because they are traditionally grown in soil that is covered with straw. Whether you use straw or something else, keep your berries off of the soil! Strawberries rot amazingly fast when they contact soil.
The second biggest issue with strawberries are slugs. Slugs love the environment offered by the straw and they never eat much of any one strawberry… Only a few slug holes in each berry in the patch. Yeah, they get annoying quickly, but some beer filled short jars draw in slugs more than berries and keep your berry patch safe from slugs.
Strawberries also hate competition so you have to keep the beds weed free. Yeah right. Every weed in the county is represented in my berry beds! I do what I can to keep the weeds to a dull roar, but weed free is a pipe dream!